Community to break the silence about sexual assault

Kennedy Nolen, Multicultural Reporter

In 2011, a police officer in Canada said women could avoid sexual assault by not dressing like sluts. This started a revolution around the world to fight victim blaming and slut-shaming, which EIU FEM will take part in 4:45 p.m. Wednesday at the south entrance of Coleman Hall.

Participants can stand against slut-shaming, sexual assault and rape culture at the fifth annual Satirically Lessening Unfair Theories Walk.

The march will begin at the South Quad, go up to the North Quad and stop at Old Main so passersby can see signs held by participants.

The group will then march back around, creating a half circle.

Alana Reinhardt, the president of EIU FEM and a sophomore public relations major, defined rape culture as society normalizing rape and sexual violence.

She said people blame the victims for sexual assault and use derogatory language to describe everyday things without even knowing it.

“We just make it so normalized that we don’t even question the language we are using,” Reinhardt said.

Other campuses have also had their own S.L.U.T. Walks.

“Sexual assault is so predominant on college campuses, we thought it was a necessary thing to break the silence,” Reinhardt said. “To have it in Charleston gives a voice to local victims.”

Simone Reynolds, a sophomore public relations major, said the whole idea of the S.L.U.T. Walk is to spread the message that it is not anyone’s fault if they experience sexual assault.

“It isn’t about what you wear. What you wear should not determine if you were a victim of sexual assault,” Reynolds said.

Members of EIU FEM encourage people to bring posters, share personal stories and share links to the sexual assault hotline on social media.

Reynolds is taking a class on sexual and domestic violence, and she said she is going to connect the S.L.U.T. Walk to concepts she learned in class.

“As an advocate, you believe in and are there for survivors and victims,” Reynolds said. “Some survivors are not ready to come out and share their stories.”

Reynolds said at the informational meeting Monday, attendees had the opportunity to make posters for the walk.

The signs could have personal messages or different statistics, like how one in four women will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime, Reinhardt said.

Reinhardt said it is important for people to educate themselves on statistics of sexual assault and to realize that it is unfortunately a topic that is silenced.

“People think of victims as one particular stereotype, but it is several,” Reinhardt said.

Reinhardt said the S.L.U.T. Walk has been EIU FEM’s “baby” this semester, but the organization is planning to have a drive collecting menstruation supplies around Thanksgiving or Christmas.

Kennedy Nolen can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].